ALL STAR 2016
Pau Gasol will be part of the 2016 All Star Game
With Butler out for up to four weeks with a sprained left knee a space has opened up for the Spaniard. This will be his sixth All Star appearance.
Pau Gasol will take his place in a sixth All-Star Game on Sunday (02:00) in Toronto. The Spanish center replaces his Chicago Bulls teammate Jimmy Butler, who misses out due to injury (sidelined three to four weeks with knee strain). This decision to include Pau comes after the rejection of the coaches to name him in the first instance, a decision he called 'unfair'. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has opted for the Bulls player and this follows a recent fan vote where Gasol came within 360 votes of Carmelo Anthony. So, we can now finally look forward to seeing the Spanish giant at the Air Canada Centre, which will be the first pavillion to house the All Stars weekend outside of the USA.
Although we're not going to see a repeat of the historic feat seen last year when Pau starred alongside his brother Marc Gasol, he will be accompanying his friend Kobe Bryant in what will be the eighteenth and final All Star game for the LA Lakers guard. In addition, the inclusion of Pau ensures that the 2016 NBA All Star game has foreign players forming part of the show. You have to go back to 1984 to witness the last time that only players born in the United States took to the court. In 48 appearances and at the age of 35, Pau has averaged 17 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2 blocks - this has allowed to notch up 29 double-doubles to date.
As of today, Jimmy Butler is the only absence from the original top 24 selected. The Most Improved Player last year, was injured in the game against the Denver Nuggets, but the good news is that the latest medical tests have ruled out anything serious.
Here's a quick recap of the line-ups of both Conferences:
Starters: (appearances include 2016)
Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors): 2 times All Star
Coach: Tyronn Lue (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Coach: Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs)